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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Jul 2020

14 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Effect of neutral winds on the creation of non-specular meteor trail echoes

Freddy Galindo1, Julio Urbina1, and Lars Dyrud2 Freddy Galindo et al.
  • 1Communications and Space Sciences Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
  • 2OmniEarth, Inc. 2015; 251 18th Street South – Suite 650, Arlington, VA, USA

Abstract. Non-specular meteor trail echoes are radar reflections from plasma instabilities that are caused by field-aligned irregularities. Meteor simulations are examined to show that these plasma instabilities, and thus the associated meteor trail echo, strongly depend on the meteoroid properties and the characteristics of the atmosphere in which the meteoroid is embedded. The effects of neutral winds, as a function of altitude, are analyzed to understand how their amplitude variability impacts the temporal-space signatures of non-specular meteor trail echoes present in VHF radar observations. It is found that amplitudes of the total horizontal neutral wind smaller than 0.6 m/s do not provide the right physical conditions to enable the genesis of non-specular meteor echoes. It is also found that a 0.0316 μg meteoroid traveling at 35 km/s can be seen as a meteor trail echo if the amplitudes of horizontal neutral winds are stronger than 15 m/s. In contrast, a 0.316 μg meteoroid, traveling at the same speed, requires horizontal winds stronger than 1 m/s to be visible as a meteor trail echo. The meteor simulations also indicate that time delays on the order of hundreds of milliseconds or longer, between head-echoes and non-specular echoes, which are present in VHF backscatter radar maps can be a consequence of very dense plasma trails being affected by weak horizontal neutral winds that are smaller than 1 m/s.

Freddy Galindo et al.

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Freddy Galindo et al.

Freddy Galindo et al.


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Latest update: 11 Aug 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Micro-size particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere do not emit enough light to be observed as meteors, but they can routinely be monitored with radars. Meteor signals probed by radar sensors depend on variables such as the meteor particle size and the atmosphere in which the particle travels. In this paper, we study the importance of neutral winds in the formation of meteor signals sensed by radars. The result shows that neutral winds could mislead our understanding of these meteors signals.
Micro-size particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere do not emit enough light to be observed...